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Letting Go Living Free Longer by Paul Hardy

It all begins somewhere Chapter 1

In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God. John 1:1-2 &

From the sidelines

That dreaded time again. All winter long, Tuesdays and Thursdays, it was time to be confined to the gym. The coach would line us up and, “let the games begin!” We called it dodgeball. I called it pure torture. Sure, during the spring, being the last one picked for baseball was tough; but this was different. There was just nowhere to go. Lined up, the biggest targets got taken out first.

That was me. The roly-poly kid. Bam, bam, bam! Those red rubber balls flew into my territory. It seemed no matter how hard I’d try; I would be the first one out. Kyle, the starting football player; was always ready to take me out of the game. Then I’d have the lovely pleasure of sitting on the sidelines to watch everyone else have all the fun.

That seemed to be the posture of my life. Watching from the sidelines. Not a part of; not like everybody else. I felt so unable to do anything. I’d muster up my courage, pick a target and go after someone. Invariably, I’d feel a sting in my back first. I’d been hit! Years later, reflecting back on that event, I realized that the Lord Jesus had some things to walk me through. As I asked Him to show me His perspective, I waited on Him.

“Look around, Paul,” He said.

As I replayed the gymnasium experience, there was Bill. He was sitting there too. He was a small guy. He and I were the last ones in from lap running and the first ones out of dodgeball consistently.

“So, you’re not alone?” Jesus asked.

“No, not really. Other people got knocked out too,” I thought.

“A lot happened to you that day,” He said.

It was there, and in many other similar scenes, that I developed that feeling and belief, “I feel so small.” Not small in size, but insignificant. Many related incidents contained that same feeling and belief. It just seemed I could never catch up to everyone else. Never equal.

“Nothing you’ve ever done for me was small,” Jesus responded.

To be honest, a great sense of relief and fresh air swept over my heart. I took a deep breath and accepted what the Spirit of Christ shared with me. Nothing I had ever done for Him was insignificant. Man, that felt good!

I’ll never forget that conversation with the Risen Lord Jesus. Simple as it was, it liberated me from that nagging feeling that everyone else around me would always be better, smarter, and more successful than I. That conversation changed my life.

He, the Risen Lord Jesus, has shared similar talks with me to teach and re-train me from many events in my life.As we engage in these conversations, I find there are things I can now leave behind.My goal is to help you get to the place where you too can leave some things in your life behind.

Ø IN YOUR OWN WORDS: What would you say has been the major influence that has shaped your beliefs about yourself the most?

__ The Parent Trap (my dad or my mom)

__ A Bad Apple (a teacher or authority figure)

__ With Friends Like That Who Needs Enemies (a friend, or group of peers)

__ A hurtful experience

Ø What did their influence “do” to you?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ THREE STRIKES YOU’RE IN

Three strikes you’re out, or three strikes you’re in? Chances are, like me, you’ve been searching for something. You may be struggling in some area of your life, or looking for ways to grow spiritually and emotionally. It may have been a specific crisis or relationship in your life that has pressured you to look for help. Maybe you picked up this book prejudiced because other attempts you made have not worked.

It may be that you sought a counselor who just looked at you and listened, offering few solutions to the problem that drove you to see him or her. You may have made a vow to yourself that, “no matter what, I’m not gonna get help or air my dirty laundry.” Well, I’m asking you to put all that aside and to be willing to do something different. As the old saying goes,

Ø IN YOUR OWN WORDS: What difference would Jesus’ perspective make on your self-beliefs, or life’s conclusions?

__ I would be less judgmental of myself.

__ I would have more confidence in His observations.

__ I might have to completely change my conclusions.

__ There would be a lot more joy in my life.

When we look at the “My Journey “Chart, on the previous page, we can begin to see the factors that work into our life history. Let’s take each of these apart for a minute. TRIGGERS: things in the present that push buttons, hurt, stir up or are pressing issues.

  • RELATIONSHIPS: people in the present that push buttons, stir up, etc.

  • SIMILAR EVENTS: previous times or relationships when like feelings have been present.

  • ROOT OF BITTERNESS: a weed that takes root, shoots up and contaminates other areas of the self life.


  • SELF-BELIEF STATEMENT: conclusions about one’s self in the original event.

  • EMOTIONS: feelings that accompany self-beliefs in the original event.

  • VOWS – I BECAME GOD: promises and oaths to one’s self of protection, control or revenge.

  • TRUTH FROM JESUS: His healing presence, confirmation from His Word, truth statements, relief or understanding. Would you be willing to put aside any prejudices and give the principles I will teach you an opportunity to work? Don’t you think it’s time to take a chance and try something you haven’t done before?

First things

If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? Psalm 11:3 &

You see, the way something begins is very important. What are the first things you remember about your life? Can you remember your first scraped knee? How about your first date? And your first heartbreak?

Those “firsts” are building blocks. Laying a good foundation cannot be underestimated. If the foundations, “first things,” or groundwork of your life have been threatened, what can you do? As Cheryl Crow sings, “The first cut is the deepest.”

When the first memorable experiences of our lives are painful and confusing, they produce belief systems. Let’s think of it like this. Your life and mine are like a garden. When someone or something disturbs the soil, a root is planted. That root grows up into a weed. That weed then sprouts and sets out other roots that grow. Our job will be to get to the roots (bitterness) and get help with removing them. GOD SAYS: See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.

Hebrews 12:15 NASV-U &

Let’s think of it like this. Our present conflicts, concerns, and issues in life have a source. That source is usually grounded in our past experiences. If someone criticizes or rejects me, most likely I will respond the way I did the first time I felt criticized or rejected. If that first impression was filled with bitterness, I will probably respond with accumulated interest. That is, the person in my present receives the full force of what I’ve felt and experienced before with all the interest of that hurt involved. I’ve got an R.O.B., a root of bitterness.

If you start well, with a clear understanding, then you have more to build upon. In the same way, if your outcomes and purposes for life are cloudy, you’ll never hit the mark. As we begin this journey together, let’s get started right. So, hopefully, it’s “Three strikes you’re in!”

Ø IN YOUR OWN WORDS: What top events or relationships provided opportunities for roots of bitterness to form in your heart?


Ø IN YOUR OWN WORDS: What previous attempts have you made to change your life and how did they work? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Common Equations

If I’m hurt and no one cares, something must be wrong with me.

If you make me afraid, something must be wrong with me.

If you say I’m worthless, something must be wrong with me.

If you abuse me, something must be wrong with me.

If you hate me, something must be wrong with me.

The equations, belief systems, or lies we come to believe as children formulate who we become as adults. Just as “all roads lead to Rome,” we tend to go back to our original beliefs.

Which of the following words do you already use in your vocabulary that describe the idea of equations?

__ conclusions, “concluded that . . .”

__ convinced, “I became convinced that . . .”

__ lies, “I believed a lie. . .”

__ interpretations, “I interpreted it this way . . .”

Ø IN YOUR OWN WORDS: Which of the above “Common Equations” do you relate to the most? Why? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

when I was a Child:

When I was a child, life was fun and games.

When I was a child, things seemed so big and bright.

Then I grew up, and I look back, and things have changed.

Now as a man, I remember my pains.

Now as a man, I remember the dark and night.

But I’m grown up, and I look back, and things have changed.

With Christ as my guide, I look at the stains.

With Christ as my guide, He brings hope and light.

He makes me grow up, and I look back, and I have changed. Paul Hardy

GOD SAYS: When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man (adult), I put childish things behind me. I Corinthians 13:11 &

When do we become adults? Was there a morning that you woke up and said to yourself, “By the way, self, I am now officially an adult”? There is no code or specific definition of adulthood. Now we have a problem. If maturity is never defined, we will never know what to shoot for.

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